Title

Assessing and Addressing the Needs of Youth Experiencing Homelessness in Los Angeles and San Francisco

Document Type

Paper

Publication Date

Spring 2017

Abstract

Each year over two million children in the US will experience homelessness for a period of time. Throughout the United States, agencies serving youth are not consistently addressing the varying needs of LGBT youth experiencing homelessness. The following research outlines youth homelessness throughout the US, but specifically in Los Angeles and San Francisco. The research discusses the various paths into homelessness, homeless policies, stories from the streets, and an overview of the current situation in each city. It was quickly discovered that many young people chose not to seek help from homeless youth agencies due to the fact that they view this option as unsafe. The main methodology for the research was seven semi-structured interviews conducted with staff from the following homeless youth providers: Larkin Street Youth Services, LAYN, My Friend’s Place and the Los Angeles LGBT Center. The findings highlight a number of themes directly answering the primary and sub research questions. The findings specifically highlight the ways homeless programs are addressing LGBT needs, the gaps that exist in current programs, policy on youth homelessness, the importance of safe spaces and employment programs and the uncertainty surrounding a Trump future. Recommendations are made both on a state and local level. They provide potential solutions to a variety of the gaps and issues raised during the data collection. Ultimately, it is clear that there is a need for much more work in this sector to ensure that no more young people are faced with homelessness.

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